Quilt Talk

By Mary Covey

I am so excited to let you know that I will be a guest on American Patchwork & Quilting Radio. The show is hosted by “The Voice of Quilting” – Pat Sloan. Few people in the quilting world are as multi-talented as Pat. She is an author, fabric designer, talk show/podcast host, teacher, lecturer, and blogger. And did I say all around nice person?

If you have missed Pat’s previous interviews with people in the quilting world, you can find them at creativetalknetwork.com/. Free patterns , sew alongs, challenges, deals, videos, and more can be found by going to ilovetomakequilts.com a site for passionate quilters hosted by Pat Sloan.

The quilts pictured in the promotion for the show were free motion quilted by me using my long arm machine. I look forward to sharing my love of long arm quilting with Pat Sloan and hope that you will join us on Monday,

Logo

Quilting the Quilt (part one)

By Mary Covey

jflower4

When planning a quilt, most quilters know there are three elements to keep in mind – design, color, and texture. There is no denying that we are drawn to a quilt by the beauty of the design and by the color combinations that dazzle. But what about the texture – the actual quilting itself?

The quilts of yesteryear required a great deal of close quilting to keep the batting from shifting and lumping. This is not true for today’s quilts because of the numerous choices available in batting, more focus can be put on a quilting design that compliments both the design and color of the quilt.

The beautiful applique’ quilt block above was hand appliqued by Jane Green. Her attention to detail in the flowers deserves to be enhanced by machine quilting that does not distract from her work. Using matching thread colors helps keep your eye on the design of the block. Echoing each of the shapes both inside and outside creates equal density while still maintaining the beauty of the block design. Echo quilting is like ripples in a pond – they start out close in a perfect ring and get larger  the further away from the center they get.  After several passes around a shape swirls, leaves, hearts, and other designs can be added(see example below) to make those blank corners of the block beautiful.

Dorothy Smith's Quilt

Semi Feathers

Logo

For the Record

By Mary Covey

Most quilters are drawn to the warmth and beauty of antique quilts. We like to collect and display them whenever possible. Many of these quilts have intricate hand stitching, unusual fabrics, and are made from patterns with long forgotten names. Fabric historians and journals written by the quilters have helped in documenting information about many antique quilts that are parts of museum collections. But what about quilts that you find at garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores? Do you ever wonder who the maker was, what was the name of the pattern, or how old is the quilt? I do.

3 Ways to Take Care of Antique Quilts #quilting #marycoveydesigns

Antique quilt from the 1930’s.

The block above is from a quilt made in the 1930’s. I know this because several of the blocks in the quilt have the year embroidered on them. So while we know approximately when it was made, the name of the maker, the name of the owner, the pattern name, and the occasion for which it was made are all a mystery. I have written a previous post on labeling your quilts, which should be a part of any quilt making process, but have you ever thought of making a record keeping system for your quilts?

The easiest way to keep a record of information about your quilts is to develop a basic form and fill it out each time you make a quilt. It can be something as simple as an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper or as elaborate as a binder system made specifically for a quilt maker’s record keeping.  Many of my friends use a spiral bound notebook that costs about a dollar that you can purchase just about any where. My favorite way is to create this document as part of an electronic file and save it on my computer.

The following is a list of information to include in your record:

  • Project or quilt number. Assign each project or quilt a number when you start. Then fill in the information as your work progresses.
  • Name. This is not necessary but most quilters do name their projects.
  • Pattern name and manufacturer. An example would be – “Happy Birthday Baby” pattern designed by Mary Covey from the book “Celebrations” published by Martingale & Company 2002.
  • Piecing. Was the quilt pieced by hand or machine? Was it made by one person or several? Be sure to include everyone’s name.
  • Quilting.  Record whether the quilt was hand or machine quilted and by whom.
  • Special information. Record if the quilt has appeared in any shows or publications. In each instance, record the name of the show/publication, date, awards won or page number.
  • Quilt owner. Even if you are making the quilt for yourself, make sure you record who is the owner. You may think everyone knows who you made the quilt for but unless you write it down, nobody will. If you are giving the quilt as a gift, make sure this information is on the label.
  • Maker’s notes. This is where I like to record the story behind the quilt. What was the inspiration for making the quilt – a wedding, a birthday, a new baby, a gift for a special friend?
  • Pictures. Take a photograph of your quilt or project. If you keep a paper record write the number of the project on the back of the photo in case it gets separated for the recorded sheet. Photos can be easily added to electronic files and saved.

Remember it is never too late to start keeping a record of your quilts. Chances are you know who you gave a quilt to or you might even still own them.  Start taking pictures and recording the history of as many of them as you can. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Logo

Fabric Prewash or Not?

Fabric Pre-wash or Not?

By Mary Covey

Should I prewash my fabric or not? Nothing can stir up more heated debates with quilters than this subject. Every quilter has an opinion on the subject. And guess what? They are all correct. The truth is there is no right or wrong answer to the question. It is all up to the individual quilter. Each choice comes with some pros and cons that you will have to consider when deciding which you will do.

Those in favor of prewashing their fabric enjoy the idea that this will maintain the fabrics  colorfastness. Prewashing also preshrinks the fabric. These have certainly been valid concerns in the past. The fabric processing and dying procedures have seen many advancements over the past 10-15 years. So these two concerns are somewhat less valid. The biggest advantage to prewashing is in the pliability and feel of the fabric. Fabrics with heavy sizing and painted designs are difficult to quilt both by hand and machine.  A quick prewash can help eliminate some future problems.

On the other side of the debate are quilters who prefer not to prewash. They enjoy the crisp feel of the fabric fresh from the store. Many of these quilters believe the fabric is easier to cut and stitch with because the sizing helps the fabric retain its shape. The decision may also be based on the desire to have an old fashioned look for the quilt when it is completed. When the fabric and batting are not prewashed before quilting, then the finished quilt is washed, they all shrink together giving the quilt that crinkled old fashioned look.

As a machine quilter, I believe in both points of view. I love the look that a quilt gets when nothing has been prewashed until the quilt is finished. The quilt appears to have been around forever and has a soft, soothing feel.  But not prewashing fabric can cause lots of tension issues and skipped stitches because of heavy sizing or painted designs on the fabric.  When fabric is prewashed it is much easier to quilt both by hand and machine, giving you a nice tight stitch.

Ultimately the choice is yours. Pick the look you want and get busy quilting.

Logo